Software Installation via GPO (32 and 64 bit) Issues

Hi All,

I am having some issues with software deployment via Group Policies and hoping to get some advices on how is 32 bits and 64 bits software are usually deployed.  Any advice and suggestions are welcome.

My office computers have been mostly 32 bits Windows 7 desktops.  Until recently, we added a few 64 bits windows 7 notebook to our Domain.

Since our computers run 32 bits OS, I had created a few group policies to deployed 32 bits software (Adobe Reader, Microsoft Live Meeting, Open Project, MS Office Communicator ...etc) previously, and they had been working fine.  Then a few days ago when I help a user (with 64 bits windows) to troubleshoot on a case, I noticed his event viewer was full of Warning and Errors regarding Group Policies was unable to apply settings.

Some sample errors are:

1. The assignment of application Microsoft Conferencing Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook from policy PDI_livemeeting_addin failed.  The error was : %%1274

2. Failed to apply changes to software installation settings.  The installation of software deployed through Group Policy for this user has been delayed until the next logon because the changes must be applied before the user logon.  The error was : %%1274

3. The removal of the assignment of application Adobe Reader X from policy PDI_Software_Install failed.  The error was : %%2


My guess is that those software packages were not installed because on those 64 laptops, I manually installed 64 bits version of the apps instead of letting the group policies to push the softwares.

What I want to know is, how do most sys admins configure GPO to match software deployments?  any advice for making better software delpoyments?

Thank you very much.
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wingkchanAsked:
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uboundCommented:
When I was trying to decide how to install updates at our organization, I realized I wanted to install software on client computer the same way that Windows Update does.  And it turn out that you can.  It's a two step process.

Step 1:
Microsoft has a tool to help admins install the normal Windows Updates on client computers.  It is called WSUS (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsserver/bb332157).  This free product from MS is installed on a server at your organization.  Then the clients in your organization are instructed (via GPO) to get their Windows Updates from this server.  Having 1 server download the updates, and having the (hundreds of) clients download them from this local server was a clear bandwidth savings for us.

WSUS has a UI that allows admins to control which updates get installed and when.  WSUS supports reporting as well (something that GPO deployment is weak on).

Step 2:
WSUS also allows admins to create their own updates.  These updates get installed on computers using the same services that install Windows Updates.  To create your own updates, you need the (also free) Local Update Publisher (http://localupdatepublisher.com/).  LUP uses documented MS APIs (ie no unsupported hacks) to manage updates.

I use LUP to install Java, Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, etc, and it has worked very well for me.  And the price (free) fit well with our budget.
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lamaslanyCommented:
You can use WMI filtering on GPOs but I am not sure that is the problem - we push 32-bit apps to 64-bit machines all the time without issue including Office add-ins and Adobe Reader X...
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lamaslanyCommented:
PS:  +1 for LUP!
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wingkchanAuthor Commented:
Thanks ubound and lamaslany for your advices.  I am unaware of the apps Local Update Publisher.  But it does sounds nice to give a try.  I will take some time and test that out on some VM before using them on production systems.

So... basically, you typically just create a 32 bit packages for deployment?  even for 64 bits machines?

I just came across a site that said, those error messages maybe there due to "startup processing" problem. someone suggest enabling GPO to make sure the Software Install GPO waits 30 seconds before kicks off.  I have followed that, and lets see tomrorow if there eliminates the errors on those 64 bits laptops.  

Thanks!
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lamaslanyCommented:
"So... basically, you typically just create a 32 bit packages for deployment?  even for 64 bits machines?"

We do.  Although there is a 64-bit version of Microsoft Office we have third-party plugins that do not support 64-bit.  We use the 32-bit browser on 64-bit machines too which means we can use the same 32-bit Java and Flash plugins.

The only 64-bit specific app we currently deploy is 7-Zip.
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lamaslanyCommented:
Oh - and 64-bit antivirus...
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uboundCommented:
Our environment is much like lamalany's.  32bit office + 64bit av.  Since there is a 64 bit IE installed, I've included 64bit flash + java, but mostly users are running the 32bit ie.

LUP has a step-by-step guide here that you may find useful: https://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/localupdatepubl/index.php?title=Main_Page
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wingkchanAuthor Commented:
Thanks very much for your help!
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